"Don't die with the music still in you."
--- Wayne Dyer
After choosing one-little-words for myself for nearly a decade now, I'm still amazed at how these words manifest themselves in my life. I always discover things about myself and how I experience my world, and each year I look forward to the new lessons I'll learn (teach myself?) by digging in . . . to my newest one-little-word.
The words I choose usually just kind of . . . bubble up. Some concept or direction starts clamoring for attention in my head. Or my heart. And something makes me listen and grab hold. This year, it was this one:
In the beginning, I always find it helpful to figure out . . . why. Why this particular word? Where is the source? What am I trying to tell myself? I usually spend the month of January figuring that out.
It's a concept that's been bubbling up for some time now, actually. Since dealing with my mom's death a couple of years ago. And the aftermath. And going through her things. And then helping my dad downsize and move. You see, before my mom became ill and died, my words (shine - surprise - possibility - journey - risk) had really been about finding myself -- reconfiguring the notion of ME . . . post-cancer and post-active-mothering (after my kids launched and left the nest for good).
After my mom got sick, though, after her death, after the dealing-with-the-details and coping with my own grief, after moving my dad . . . well . . . everything shifted for me. In a big way. I mean, thanks to my cancer experience, I'd already come to terms with the fact that life is never certain. I already learned that our days really are limited. But there was something . . . even more . . . about the fragility of life that hit me after my mom died.
My word in the year following my mom's death was balance. (And, boy, did I need some!) Once I found my own balance again, I was able to be more introspective. How was I spending my time? Where did the days go? What was I doing (in the words of Mary Oliver) "with my one precious life?" It was becoming more clear to me that I no longer needed to find myself -- what I needed . . . was to figure out how I wanted to spend my time. Because days are actually . . . finite. With that in mind, last year I began my in-depth exploration of focus.
Now, at the beginning of 2019, it seems that my new word - intention - is simply a natural extension of my last couple of words.
Balance ==> Focus ==> Intention.
Here I am, a nearly-60-year-old, 10-year-cancer-survivor. I am hyper-aware that I'm not going to live forever. I know I'm currently experiencing "peak" mental acuity, physical fitness, good health, energy, and clarity of mind -- not of my entire life, mind you, but certainly of what's left of my life. Sound morbid? I don't think so. But it is a bit of a wake-up call. Yes, I'm only (almost) 60. I plan to have many, many good years ahead of me, and I plan to make them the best I possibly can. But. . . finite.
So, I don't want to waste a moment. But I DO want to . . .
- make deliberate choices
- act on purpose
- be clear about who I am and why I'm doing
- live less out of habit and more out of intent
- accept aging with grace, humor, and a bit of kick-ass
- live my best life every day
In other words . . . I want to live with INTENTION.
And that's the why of it.